How To Get Your Irish Working Holiday Visa

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Think the Irish Working Holiday Visa or Work Permit is difficult to get? Think again. Lubka, our US Work Abroad Specialist, is on hand to answer all your questions about getting your Irish visa which can let you work and travel around the isle of Ireland for up to 12 months. 

Is an Irish Work Permit and an Irish Working Holiday Visa the same thing? 

It depends! The Irish government likes to use that terminology for different things. To simplify it, the Working Holiday Authorization (WHA) is the Working Holiday Visa you will need to be able to work, live and travel anywhere in Ireland…and it is also referred to as an open Work Permit. We will refer to it as the Irish Working Holiday Visa in this blog. 

How can I get an Irish Working Holiday Visa? 

For a 4 month visa you can get it through BUNAC, who applies for you and works with the Irish government to get your 4 month Working Holiday Visa - that usually has a 5th month added onto the end just for travel. We also provide in-country support for the duration of your time in Ireland on your visa. The cost of the 4 month visa cost is included in the BUNAC program fee.

For a 12 month visa, BUNAC will help you through the visa process with your local Irish consulate, provide other pre-departure support like providing info on where to buy a cheap flight, what is acceptable insurance for your visa etc., as well as provide in-country support for the duration of your time in Ireland on your visa. The cost of the 12 month visa is around $360 USD, though it depends on the Irish consulate.

To apply for either visa you must meet the following requirements: if you an American, hold a valid passport (or at least can get one), are 18 years or older and are a full-time student or recent graduate within the last 12 months, then you are eligible for the 12 month Working Holiday Visa to Ireland. If you are a full-time student or recent graduate within 6 months, you are also eligible for the 4 month Working Holiday Visa to Ireland!

How long does the visa last for? 

  • 4 month visa lasts for 4 months to work, live and travel anywhere in Ireland, with a 5th month just for travel. 
  • 12 month visa lasts for 12 months to work, live and travel anywhere in Ireland. 

Both visas are multi-entry, which means you can enter and exit Ireland as much as you want to while your visa is valid. It is also an open work permit, which means you can work in any legal employment that you wish to anywhere on the Emerald Isle. It also means you can travel and work in numerous places in Ireland - the opportunities are endless!

Is the Irish Working Holiday Visa really difficult to get? 

Not with BUNAC’s help! For the 4 month visa, we deal with the visa for you. For the 12 month visa, BUNAC are there every step of the way for you and, as long as you are flexible on your departure to Ireland, you should be able to head off to Ireland for your Irish adventure without a problem!

Can I work anywhere on the Irish Working Holiday Visa? 
Yes you can! Though most people tend to work in Dublin or Galway, the visa allows you to live, work and travel anywhere in Ireland. 

Can I work in any industry / career field on the visa? 

Yes you can! Ireland is also a great place to look for more professional jobs, as this is a direct visa exchange between Ireland the United States. However most people tend to work in the hospitality/tourism industry, because of the flexibility these types of jobs have which allows for more time to explore Ireland and Europe!

What is the Garda/IRP (Irish Residence Permit) appointment? 

The Garda fee needs to be paid upon arrival in Ireland for both the 4 month and 12 month visa. This €300 EURO fee is paid by you with a credit card upon arrival, when you attend your pre-booked IRP (Irish Resident Permit) appointment. This fee is mandatory for everyone. BUNAC helps you arrange this appointment and provides all the info you need to be able to successfully book and attend your appointment in Dublin upon your arrival, but keep in mind this is something you need to prepare for.   

What is the difference between the Work Ireland Starter and Essentials package?

The biggest difference is that on the Essentials package you receive a bit more help in finding a job. This includes more one on one time with our team in Dublin, and your CV will be listed on a database. If you are looking for a more professional job, or are worried about finding a job in Ireland, this is the package for you! There are other differences between the packages, and to review the differences you can go here.

Can I upgrade to the Essentials package if I change my mind after booking?

Yes, absolutely, however you would need to make this change before you head off to Ireland.

Is the $299 deposit a part of the full program fee? Or separate?

It is a part of the program fee! This means that you need to make your remaining balance payment over the phone. This would be your package, minus the $299 deposit. For example, if you booked on the 12 month starter package, your remaining balance would be $61USD.

How to I set up a bank account and file taxes while in Ireland?

Our team in Dublin will help you with all of this upon your arrival! You will be required to attend a mandatory orientation in Ireland – which is held on Tuesdays & Fridays at 11am - and this is where you will meet the Ireland team and receive all the information you need to get started, and be successfully, living in Ireland!

How long does it take to find a job?

Most people find jobs within 3-4 weeks upon arrival, though it can take shorter/longer depending on the effort you put into the process. 

For any other questions about the BUNAC Work Ireland program, please visit the FAQs page. Alternatively, you can email your questions to info@bunacusa.org.

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